Diamondbacks 4, Mets 1

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NEW YORK (AP)—Doug Davis and Arizona threw some curveballs at the New York Mets’ plans for a series win over the Diamondbacks.

Davis allowed a run and six hits in 7 2-3 innings and the Diamondbacks won for the ninth time in 10 games, beating the New York Mets 4-1 on Sunday. The Diamondbacks concluded a successful six-game road trip through Philadelphia and New York, winning five of six.

The Mets lost a home series for the first time since April 15-17 against Atlanta, and they can thank Davis’ baffling curve.

“I threw a lot of curveballs today, that was pretty much my plan,” Davis said. “It seems the last two years they are under a .200 average on the curveball, so when in doubt, I threw the curveball. We tried to keep the hitters off balance and get the key outs.”

After Jose Reyes lined Davis’ first pitch into left field for a single, Davis (4-6) retired 11 of the next 12 batters. He didn’t allow more than one baserunner in any of the first seven innings.

Davis had three walks and six strikeouts in winning his second straight start.

“He had tremendous command the whole time,” manager Bob Melvin said, adding that Davis’ trademark cutter was also very effective. “It’s difficult to gauge him when he’s throwing strikes with both of those pitches.”

David Wright hit four groundballs to the left side off Davis in the game, beating out the last one for an infield single.

“I only have 10 or 15 at-bats against him, but I don’t remember facing him when he had this much command, especially of his curveball,” Wright said. “Every big situation, he seemed to induce a groundball and get ahead of the hitter.”

Jose Valverde picked up his 20th save in 22 chances.

Mets starter Oliver Perez (6-4) was outstanding early, facing the minimum through four. But he lost his command in the fifth, walking rookie Mark Reynolds on four pitches to start the inning. Scott Hairston followed with a liner between short and third for the first Diamondbacks hit, and Carlos Quentin’s ground-rule double to right-center scored Reynolds. Perez hit Chris Snyder to load the bases, but got out of the inning with a run-scoring double play by Alberto Callaspo and a strikeout of Davis.

“In the fifth inning, I got lost a little bit. I was missing the first pitch,” Perez said.

Another leadoff walk, his third in a row, cost Perez in the sixth. After walking Eric Byrnes, Conor Jackson followed with a double down the left-field line and Orlando Hudson drove in Byrnes with a sacrifice fly to center to make it 3-0.

It was only the third time in 11 starts that Perez walked three or more batters.

Perez pitched seven innings, allowing three runs and four hits, with three walks and five strikeouts. He lost at Shea Stadium for the first time since April 11 against the Phillies.

The Mets picked up a run in the sixth when Endy Chavez led off with a double and was followed by back-to-back groundouts by Wright and Carlos Delgado.

Down 4-1, New York threatened in the bottom of the eighth, loading the bases with two outs against Davis. Tony Pena came in and got Damion Easley to bounce to third, a pitch after Easley nearly cleared the bases with a hard grounder down the third-base line that was called foul by third base umpire Tim Tschida.

“That would have been nice to get that one,” Randolph said. “We were kind of teetering on the edge, but couldn’t get the big hit.”

With their starting outfield banged up, the Mets used a makeshift outfield of Ben Johnson in left, Chavez in center and Carlos Gomez in right. It was a tough combination for the Mets to overcome, since their best three hitters in the lineup—Reyes, Wright and Delgado—came in 2-for-34 against Davis.

The trio went 2-for-11 against Davis. Meanwhile, the young Mets outfield went 4-for-11.

“That’s a great win right there,” Melvin said. “You look at the teams were playing if you can get out of here 3-3, but to go 5-1 on this trip is outstanding.”

Notes

The Mets released RHP Chan Ho Park, who gave up seven runs and six hits over four innings in his only start for New York this year. He was 4-4 with a 5.57 ERA in nine starts for Triple-A New Orleans. … Joey Chestnut, who broke the world record for hot dog eating Saturday in Arizona, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. The 22-year-old from San Jose, Calif., shattered the record held by Takeru Kobayashi of Japan by downing 59 1/2 hot dogs and buns during a contest in Tempe, Ariz. … CF Carlos Beltran, out since Thursday with a bruised right knee, said he hopes to play Tuesday. “It’s a lot better and it’s going to continue to get better,” he said. … Three-time Cy Young Award winner Pedro Martinez, recovering from rotator cuff surgery, is scheduled to throw off a mound for the first time Tuesday in Port St. Lucie, Fla., the team said. “Everything with Pedro is a positive,” manager Willie Randolph said. … The Mets’ 12-game errorless streak ended on a throwing error by Reyes in the eighth.

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